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Book Review: The Unschooling Unmanual

Edited by Jan Hunt & Jason Hunt

Reviewed by Pat Farenga

This is a great collection of inspiring writing about learning without coercion, allowing childhood to blossom gradually, and enjoying life with children. Featuring articles and selections from GWS, Holt's Learning All the Time, cultural critic Daniel Quinn, and current unschooling writers, this "unmanual" is packed with great passages and quotes that reinforce your choice to work with your children and not on your children to help them learn. I was particularly pleased to read an article by Earl Stevens because it still rings so true. Earl hasn't written about unschooling in many years and his common sense and plain English about unschooling are a joy to read again. For instance:

"When people ask, 'What do you do?' my answer is that we follow our interests - and our interests inevitably lead to science, literature, history, mathematics, music - all the things that have interested people before anybody thought of them as 'subjects.'

"A large component of unschooling is grounded in doing real things, not because we hope they will be good for us, but because they are intrinsically fascinating. There is an energy that comes from this that you can't buy with a curriculum. Children do real things all day long, and in a trusting and supportive home environment, "doing real things" invariably brings about healthy mental development and valuable knowledge. It is natural for children to read, write, play with numbers, learn about society, find out about the past, think, wonder and do all those things that society so unsuccessfully attempts to force upon them in the context of schooling."

If that quote resonates with you, then I urge you to purchase this book because there are many more like it within its pages.
 

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